The Kia Niro EV was Kia’s second-ever battery electric vehicle when it was introduced in 2019 as a follow-up to the Soul EV. But unlike the Soul, the Niro EV was designed and built around a dedicated electrified vehicle platform. There were hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the Niro, but no traditional gas-powered version. In this article, we’re focusing on the battery-only Niro EV.
Specifications and energy consumption
In the Kia Niro EV, an electric motor put 201 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels through a single-speed transmission.
From 2019 through 2022, Kia estimated the Niro EV’s energy consumption at 1.9/2.3 Le/100 km (city/highway) and promised up to 385 km of driving range. According to Kia’s specs, the 64-kWh battery takes about 9.5 hours to charge when connected to a Level 2 home charger, or a little more than an hour on a level 3 DC fast charger.
Here’s a thread in which Niro EV owners discuss their real-world driving range and energy consumption.
According to Carfax Canada as of November 2022, used Niro EV prices start at $37,948 for a 2020 EX-trimmed model (the only model year for which Carfax has data), down from the car’s $44,995 MSRP when it was new. A 2020 Niro EV SX Touring is worth $52,555 – not even $2,000 less than the car’s new MSRP.
Trim levels and features
In 2019, Kia offered the Niro EV in EX and SX Touring trim levels. EX’s key features included fog lights, power-folding side mirrors, A/C, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and passive keyless entry.
SX Touring added LED headlights, a sunroof, leather upholstery, a power driver’s seat, heated front/rear seats, heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with navigation, and wireless phone charging. SX Touring also came with a suite of driver safety assists: blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, forward collision mitigation, rear cross-traffic alert, and front and rear parking sensors.
In 2020, the Niro EV got refreshed styling and new touchscreens: an 8.0-inch display for EX trim and an optional 10.25-inch display in cars with navigation.
For 2021, Kia added a mid-range EX+ trim to the lineup to bring heated seats and steering wheel and a climate control heat pum, all at a lower price point.
The 2022 Kia Niro EV was carried forward unchanged. The second-generation Kia Niro EV has just launched.
Listen for noises from the electric motor
In this thread on a Hyundai Ioniq EV forum (the Ioniq and Niro use the same drivetrain components), a handful of owners say they’ve had drive motors replaced due to failed bearings. The video in the first post gives you an idea of the whining sound to listen for in this particular situation.
If a Niro EV shuts down unexpectedly, a faulty high-voltage cable could be the culprit
In this discussion, one Niro EV owner outlines their experience getting their car repaired after it refused to turn on and flashed a message indicating the high-voltage battery was disconnected. After multiple repair attempts, the dealership traced the problem to a cable connecting the battery to the drive system.
Test the charging system during your test drive
At some point during your test drive, find a place to plug the Niro EV in to charge to make sure the charging system works properly. Connect the car to a public charging station, and try to find a 120-volt outlet so you can test the charging cable that comes with the car. Connect and disconnect the car several times using each method to see if any charging errors pop up.
Get the 12-volt battery tested
In addition to its high-voltage drive battery, the Niro EV has a conventional 12-volt battery that starts up the car’s computerized controls when you push the start button. If you see any weird faults or error messages like those described here, check the 12-volt battery first.
Blinding reflections on sunny days
If you test-drive a Niro EV on a bright, sunny day, watch for distracting reflections off the silver trim that rings the touchscreen in some versions of the 2020 and newer models.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tested the 2019 Kia Niro and gave the car a four-star overall crash safety rating. Driver protection was good enough for a four-star rating in that category, but front passenger protection got a three-star score because of a high risk of chest injury in a frontal crash. In side impact testing, the Niro EV got four stars for front-seat occupant protection and four stars for rear-occupant safety.
In 2019, the Kia Niro got a Top Safety Pick+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for its performance in that organization’s battery of tests. That includes “good” ratings in front (small and moderate overlap collisions) and side impacts, roof strength, and head restraints. The only place the Niro EV fell down in IIHS testing was for the base model’s halogen headlights, which were rated “poor.” However, the LED headlights in SX Touring models are much better, and scored a “good” rating.
Transport Canada has issued three recalls for the Kia Niro, but all are for pre-2019 models and don’t apply to the Niro EV.